Wenlock Olympian Games – Much Wenlock – Sun 15 Jul 2012

An intrepid group of our senior racers travel to distant Much Wenlock to compete in the Much Wenlock Olympics. They included ladies Pat Thomas, Alison Hopkins, Fiona Kennedy, Lynn Wilson, Gill Morgan, Mary Walsh and for the men Mark Delahunty, Andy Dodd, Steve Barrington, Andy Leung, John Falvey, Phil York and Martin Wilson. Mark Delahunty has written a report, which I have copied from our bulletin board:

Somewhere in the 19th century, at a date I can’t be bothered to Google, a local Much Wenlock surgeon introduced the idea of a modern international games for the “promotion of moral, physical and intellectual improvement”. Much Wenlock host their “Olympian” games in July – including a seven mile road race. Thirteen ESM runners – all in need of the aforementioned improvement at some level – thought they’d give it a go!

A slight kink in our plans came when eight of us found that there were no showers in our B&B (not in the advertisement we were told). I doubt that Coroebus (first Olympic champ in ancient times) had a shower on race day, but ESM runners are a tad more choosy!

The precursor to the event – and the highlight for many – was an unplanned (and as yet unratified) record attempt by our own Patricia Thomas. Five of us walked the course to get a feel for it. Four were decked out in something akin to Nordic Walking gear; Patricia managed it with matching Louis Vuitton shoes and bag. I’ve forwarded this to the folk at Guinness – ‘cos I’m pretty certain that a pair has never covered 800m in their lifetime before.

People “spout” the term undulating all too easily. This course is SERIOUSLY undulating – close on walking hilly at one point. Even so, we had a fair share of success. I’m not if this due to other runners’ unwillingness to get close to our unwashed forms or our athletic ability; I like to think the latter:-)

I’ll start with the ladies, as they had the lion (esses) share of success. Alison Hopkins (44:52) finished as 2nd lady overall, with Fiona Kennedy (47:47) 3rd. Patricia Thomas (49:03) was first FV40 – though she was originally in the results as “Patrick Thomas: MV40”. Well spotted John. Fiona won the FV50 category, with a very strong run by Lynn Wilson (52:23) placing her 3rd. Mary Walsh (56:28) – looking a little too comfortable – was well in the first half of the field, as was Gill Morgan (56:51).

Phil York (46:20) salvaged some male pride by finishing 2nd in the MV50 category. Mark Delahunty (42:49) placed 15th overall. Andy Dodd (49:51) in his first run of any kind in 2 months (?) finished in 51st place, one place ahead of the improving Steve Barrington (49:55). Andy Leung (55:00) – again, looking VERY comfortable – finished in 110th. Next came John Falvey (59:14) in 158th, followed closely by Martin Wilson (59:47) in 170th. Both have had long lay-off through injury, and this was a particularly tough race, so well done to both. Martin had set a target of breaking 60 mins – and he even had enough energy to “gesture” to assembled ESM team mates on the gallop to the finish:-)

Medals collected and cakes eaten, the team headed back up the M42/M40/etc. with the WINDOWS OPEN. Strangely, the Much Wenlock Olympics don’t warrant special “athletes lanes” like her offspring event in London! A fun event and recommended to all – but you might want to consider hill training as preparation and CHECK THE B&B HAS SHOWERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

More photos on ESM’s Facebook page. More photos by Lynn Wilson in Picasa here. Link to Wenlock Olympian Society site here. Race results here: Much Wenlock 7 – 2012